As odd as it may seem, exam season is one of my favourite times of the school year. Simply because of all the extra time I have on my hands! But obviously these last few weeks of school aren’t all fun and games, and if you don’t use your time wisely it’s easy to get overwhelmed. However in the midst of the third year of my undergrad career, I think I’ve finally come up with the ultimate dos and don’ts for maximizing your time and finishing the term off strong.
DO – Create a Schedule: If you’ve kept up with my posts until now, you’ve probably realized that I LOVE schedules. A couple weeks before exam season starts, I create a calendar that tells me what chapters/units of every course I should be studying on what day. This is an awesome tool if you do it right! Just make sure you keep your scheduling realistic – don’t try to get too much done in one day, or you’ll disappoint yourself if you can’t get everything done that you had planned to.
If you’re wondering where to start with creating a schedule of your own – I’ve posted my own example here.
DON’T – Overthink It: One mistake I see a lot of people make when studying is their attempt to study EVERYTHING. In every class, there are basic concepts you learn from day one which you know that you know. So don’t waste your time trying to memorize the exact text book definition of these simple terms, and spend more time focusing on the complex stuff. These are the concepts your professors are more likely to test you on anyways.
DO – Put the Notes Away: When you think about it, depending on your exam schedule of course, sometimes you’re given a lot of time to study. My advice is to not just waste this time – but use it wisely by studying a little bit every day. But at the same time give yourself time to relax and rejuvenate yourself – go shopping, bake, work out, paint your nails, volunteer, have a Netflix marathon. Whatever it is that you truly enjoy doing, balance it out with studying, and then the studying part won’t feel so bad.
DON’T – Sleep In: While I obviously encourage doing more than just studying, one of those things I don’t encourage is sleeping in. Obviously no one likes to set an alarm on days when they have nowhere to go, but oversleeping has the power to make you less productive than you would be if you woke up slightly groggy at a decent time. This doesn’t mean you should wake up at 6 AM and hit the books right away – I like to ease into it by having a cup of tea and watching some TV.
DO – Trust Yourself: We all know what the gym foyer looks like 30 minutes before an exam starts – students everywhere frantically reading over their study notes and, even worse, getting their friends to quiz them. I think this is the best way to stress yourself out at the worst time possible. There’s a huge difference between sitting down and reading exam questions in their totality, and trying to answer your friends’ basic questions of “Define ____”. But when you can’t answer your friends’ questions, you’re going to start wondering if you can really do the exam – which you obviously can! So do yourself a favour and leave the study notes at home when you leave for your exam. If you’re well studied to begin with, the extra 30 minutes of stressful cramming won’t teach you anything new.
Do you guys have any tips to share? Comment below, I’d love to hear them!